A friend of mine wrote a short post this week on a certain blue-backgrounded social network about the fifteen year anniversary of the passing of a mutual friend. I realized immediately afterward that another funereal anniversary had just passed us by without my realizing it. Someone very special to me passed away eighteen years ago. Eighteen years and six days, actually- the anniversary slipped by without me realizing it this year.
This surprised me. In the beginning, it was never far from my mind, and for the first five or ten years I always tried to do special things on the anniversary of her death. More recently though, the dates slide past without notice, and without as much pain. I guess that’s a good thing, in the grand scheme of things, but it still makes me feel a bit like I’ve misplaced something. My mind is built on tangents, though, and thinking about this led me to think about Johannes Kepler.
Bear with me here, I promise there’s a point.
J-Kep (shut up, I can call him J-Kep if I want to) came to Regensburg in 1628, and became ill soon after. He died on November 15, 1630, at the age of 58, and was buried here. Regensburg is swarming with things named after Kepler. There’s a memorial house and museum, on a street named Keplerstraße. There’s also a pretty nifty memorial for him near the Bahnhof which I wrote about two years ago. There’s a pharmacy named after him, and some other places around town as well. The one thing that you won’t find in Regensburg, however, is Kepler’s grave site.
Although he was buried here, the grave site was lost when the Swedish army destroyed the churchyard in 1633, during the Thirty Years War. Kepler’s self-authored epitaph survived:
- Mensus eram coelos, nunc terrae metior umbras
Mens coelestis erat, corporis umbra iacet.
- I measured the skies, now the shadows I measure
Skybound was the mind, earthbound the body rests.
More than anything else, this makes me really want to find his grave site. I know it’s not something I could ever really do- I’m not a mapmaker or a scholar or a historian- but I hate to think of Kepler as simply having been misplaced, like we’ll find him next to some spare change between the couch cushions.
What’s the last thing you misplaced? Did you check between the couch cushions?